Better U Blog
Learn about the connection of Sleep and weight loss
Failing to get enough sleep could be the biggest barrier holding you back from your weight loss goals. But how could sleep impact weight loss so much? When you are over tired your brain’s reward center becomes overactive and you find yourself looking something tasty that will make you feel good. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition observed that when people are deprived of sleep their late-night snacking increased, and participants were more likely to choose high-carb snacks.
Not only does starving yourself of sleep affect how your brain works, it also affects your hormone levels. Leptin and ghrelin are our two primary hunger hormones. Ghrelin is the signal for your brain that it’s time to eat. When you are sleep deprived, your body has specialized cells that line your stomach and pancreas which produces more ghrelin, causing you to want to eat more. Leptin, on the contrary signals your brain that you have had enough to eat and appetite is reduced. In a review of 18 studies researches observed that a lack of sleep led to increased cravings for energy-dense, high carbohydrate foods, due to the fluctuations in leptin and ghrelin. When you don’t get proper amounts of sleep, leptin levels drop giving your brain the signal to eat more food. In a sleep deprived state leptin and ghrelin work together creating a perfect storm of hormones that are working directly against you and your weight loss goals.
If leptin and ghrelin aren’t enough, cortisol and insulin also join forces against your best efforts to burn fat when in a sleep deprived state. The University of Chicago researchers observed that with only 4 days of insufficient sleep reduced participants ability to produce insulin, and also decrease insulin sensitivity by more than 30%. Insulin is in charge of many things in our body, bringing blood sugar levels down to a safe normal range is one the its most important functions. When your body doesn’t respond accordingly to insulin, nutrition partitioning is affected and your body has trouble processing fats form the bloodstream resulting in fat storage rather than utilizing that fat for energy immediately. Cortisol, our primary stress hormone, spikes when we don’t get enough sleep, this spike in cortisol signals your body to hang on to fat rather than oxidize it and utilize it for fuel.
The million-dollar question is how much sleep is enough, this number seems to be highly variable from person to person. Most people need 7-9 hours each night on average, some needing only 6 hours, and others needing as much as 10 hours. It’s not as important how much sleep you get each individual night, it is more about how many hours your get throughout the week. You can think of sleep like a gas tank, if your sleep gas tank is on empty you aren’t going anywhere. On the contrast if your tank is full, adding more sleep won’t be beneficial and would be the equivalent of overfilling a gas tank until it spills over. The good news is that someone who needs 8 hours of sleep each night, could get 7 hours during the week and sleep in on the weekend and actually make up for the lost sleep during the week if the total hours of sleep throughout the week are sufficient. On the weekend try going to bed with the sun and sleeping in naturally with no alarm, your body will autoregulate and wake you up when you are rested and have experienced enough quality sleep to thrive.
If you want to get down to the nitty gritty it’s not about how much sleep you get each night, or even how much sleep you get each week. What is most important is how many sleep cycles per week, each ~ 90-minute sleep cycle consists of light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep. We need on average about 35 sleep cycles per week. This is where quality of sleep comes into play, even if you are getting enough sleep, if your sleep is being disrupted you may not be getting enough sleep cycles per week. Some individuals may take 110 minutes per sleep cycle and others may only need 75 minutes per sleep cycle, this can account for the variability in how much sleep each individual requires. If you are exercising vigorously you may need extra sleep to recover from the added stress form the intense exercise.
Now that we know why we need adequate sleep and about how much to get, let’s talk about things we can do to fall asleep easier and get better quality sleep. Caffeine has an 8-hour half-life, meaning if you have a 6 oz cup of coffee at 4 pm (300mg of caffeine) when midnight rolls around you still have 150mg of caffeine running through your veins. For people who are more caffeine sensitive, caffeine will loop around longer in their system and this may result in even more caffeine in there system late at night. However, people who are not as caffeine sensitive have an ability to process the caffeine faster and remove it from the bloodstream much faster, explaining why some people seem to be able to drink caffeine at night and still fall asleep. Beware though, just because you fall asleep doesn’t mean you don’t have caffeine in your system and it could be affecting your quality of sleep. Avoiding caffeine after noon is a good rule of thumb when trying to improve sleep, remember chocolate contains caffeine also.
Have you ever tried to wear out your kids by taking them to the park or the pool to play, hoping that it will send them into a slumber? Believe it or not the same theory works on adults, exercise increases melatonin a hormone produced by your pineal gland, which helps regulate sleep and wakefulness. Try building a brisk walk into your evening routine to improve sleep quality.
Some other strategies for improving sleep include avoiding bright lights close to bed, our bodies sleep wake cycle is regulated by our circadian rhythms and artificial light can disrupt our natural sleep-wake cycles cause disruption in sleeping patterns. Keeping the lights dim a few hours before bedtime and avoiding screen time before bed can help your body naturally signal that its time to sleep. Chamomile tea can have a calming and relaxing effect that can promote sleep, I like the habit of drinking chamomile tea before bed, I think of it as a cue for my body that its time to relax and fall asleep.
People who are overweight have an increased risk of sleep apnea and utilizing a CPAP machine can drastically improve sleep quality for these individuals. Regular exercise, avoiding too much caffeine and light before bed are great ways to improve sleep, also sleeping in on days off work and taking naps can be strategic ways of getting more sleep and losing more weight.
Local or remote, Better U Today can you help you achieve your ideal weight quickly! Learn more here.
Holidays are always tough for dieters, and Thanksgiving is usually the most difficult holiday for your weight loss journey. Well you are in luck as we have put together some helpful tips to support you through this holiday. We also have some yummy recipes for a thinner Thanksgiving and a healthier you. Good Luck!
Start ramping up your exercise routines in the week leading up to Thanksgiving. You can lose a few extra pounds going into the holiday, knowing that you are going to overeat and gain some weight. Go on a few brisk short walks the day of Thanksgiving, and do some extra exercise in the days after Thanksgiving to burn off those extra calories.
Whatever your plan is, make sure it isn’t too extreme and it is realistic.
Focus on family and friends
You don’t need to eat to the point of discomfort to enjoy Thanksgiving, simply stop when you are full.
Chew some gum
Before and after dinner try chewing some gum to prevent from grazing and snacking.
It’s realistic to say “I’m going to indulge and enjoy myself, and I accept the fact that I will likely gain some body fat.” Rather than saying “I’m going to eat whatever I want, and pray for a Thanksgiving miracle”. Sadly, the miracle rarely happens!
Have a plan
Whether it’s to use moderation or bring healthier alternatives, go into it with a game plan and don’t stray from it.
Be the server and the dishwasher
Help serve food and clean up after this will keep you busy and can help prevent you from grazing before and/or after dinner.
Get rid of the leftovers
If you are hosting send high carb leftovers home with friends and family, this will prevent you from getting into the food that will hold you back from your weight loss goals.
Don’t starve yourself all morning, eating a healthy breakfast the day of Thanksgiving may prevent you from over eating. Also, a mid-morning coffee may help suppress your appetite as well.
Don’t eat too much
This is the most important, maybe you can try a little bit of your favorite dishes and fill up on protein and veggies to get the best of both worlds.
Watch what you drink
Drink plenty of water before during and after your thanksgiving feast to prevent over eating. Avoid drinking high calorie beverages. A great tip for wine drinkers is to fill a wine glass with ice and sparkling water and decorate with a few cranberries for color. This will help with feeling like a part of the festivities.
This isn’t an eating contest, if it were I would suggest eating as fast as possible, since the main goal of Thanksgiving is to spend time with friends and family. Let the focus be on people rather and food.
Take it easy on the alcohol
Avoid over indulging on alcohol the day before and the day of Thanksgiving. If you do drink, use moderation and chose lower carb alcoholic beverages.
Know your triggers
Know yourself, if eating pie is going to trigger you to eat like a maniac, then avoiding it altogether may be the best.
Shift some calories form the day before and after, its more about your weekly calories than your daily, use this concept in moderation.
Make healthier versions of Thanksgiving comfort foods
We have many low-carb and healthy Thanksgiving food alternatives. If you are interested in receiving them, please fill out our form here and we will email you a copy!
Don’t be afraid of saturated and monounsaturated fat in your weight loss journey, they actually can help reduce your risk of stroke and early death, whereas too much carbohydrate puts you at an increased risk of early death.
Dietary fat intake is extremely important and greatly misunderstood. We need fat to properly process fat soluble vitamins, produce hormones, and they can help us feel full and help control our blood sugar. Consuming too much fat however, can cause us to be in a calorie excess which will lead to weight gain and other negative health consequences. Fat is the most calorie dense macronutrient containing 9 calories per gram, where fat contains 3.4 calories per gram and protein contains 4.3 calories per gram and alcohol contains 7 calories per gram. Calories from fat can add up quick and can hold your back from your fat loss goals.
Much like sodium and other nutrients, too little or too much fat intake may be detrimental to us. The key is finding that happy medium where we are getting enough fat to meet our dietary needs, but not too much that we are gaining unnecessary weight. Let’s get into the different types of fat.
- Saturated fatty-acids (SFAs) are solid in room-temperature (butter, coconut oil, red meat, dairy products). CONSUME IN MODERATION
- Monounsaturated fatty-acids (MUFAs) are liquid in room-temperature (olive oil, avocado). CONSUME IN MODERATION
- Polyunsaturated fatty-acids (PUFAs) are liquid in room-temperature (soybean oil, canola oil, sunflower seed oil, cottonseed oil, margarine, etc). AVOID
- Trans fats – (fried foods, processed foods, pastries, ice cream) AVOID
Saturated fat, monounsaturated fat and are essential for testosterone production. Increased intake of polyunsaturated fats suppresses testosterone, likely due to lipid peroxidation (oxidative degradation of lipids).
Previous studies have demonstrated that steroid hormone concentrations can be affected by the diet we consume. Individuals consuming a diet containing ∼20% fat compared with a diet containing ∼40% fat have significantly lower concentrations of testosterone. These studies indicate that the energy supplied by the different macro-nutrients has a significant influence on testosterone concentrations (1). In one study researchers found saturated fat, total fat, and monounsaturated fat had significant beneficial impacts on resting serum testosterone levels. Polyunsaturated fats were associated with lower testosterone levels (1).
In another study done in 18 countries on over 130,000 participants, researchers found high carbohydrate intake was associated with higher risk of total mortality, whereas total fat and individual types of fat were related to lower total mortality (2).
It appears that saturated fats and monounsaturated fats can help you live longer, and too much carbohydrate can increase risk of early death.
Obesity is the fuse and early death is the bomb.
According to a survey conducted in 2014, 33% of children in America are overweight, 78% of these children are classified as obese. Obesity amongst children is also associated with a number of different metabolic disorders, negative health outcomes, and behaviors including these listed below (1).
- High blood pressure
- Elevated blood triglycerides
- Type 2 Diabetes
- High Uric Acid levels
- Fatty Liver
- Low self-esteem
- Disordered eating
- Declined school performance
- Social isolation
- Bullying/being bullied
- Metabolic syndrome
A mismatch between activity levels and calorie consumption
There are many factors that can cause childhood obesity including but not limited to genetics, overeating, and lack of exercise. Some obese children seem to be carrying specific genes that may be making it difficult for them to achieve a healthy weight. Since early humans were exposed to periods of starvation, “thrifty genes” responsible for storing fat and reducing energy consumption have been conserved in the human genome (2). All though this genotype efficiently prepares people for periods of famine, it proves to be a detriment in first world societies where there is a constant abundance of food. In turn, this mismatch between the environment in which the brain evolved and the environment of today has led to widespread obesity (2).
Lifestyle choices such as overeating and lack of exercise are major drivers of childhood obesity. Another factor in childhood obesity is breast feeding, which appears to be correlated with lower rates of obesity compared to formula feeding. The association between childhood obesity and consumption of fast food, skipping breakfast, midnight snacking, playing video games, and screen time have also been well documented (2).
Move more and develop a better relationship with food
The first step in solving this problem is determining if there is a problem. Getting BMI checked can be a starting point in this process. The next step is deciding to make a change, a good place to go from there is improving diet and moving more. Let’s take responsibility for our children’s health and teach them better eating habits, which will lead to a healthier relationship with food. It is important that we lead by example, children are very impressionable and if you are not eating healthy and exercising, why would your children? Let’s eat better and move more. One meal at a time, one day at a time, brick by brick, we can fight back against childhood obesity.
For optimal weight loss, what you put in your body is just as important as what you keep out. Today we take a look at getting the right amount of potassium on a low-carb diet.
The word potassium comes from the term potash, which refers to plant ashes soaked in water in a pot, which was how potassium was manufactured prior to the industrial era. Potassium ions are vital for the functioning of all living cells and play a role in…
- hormone secretion
- blood pressure regulation
- movement of the digestive system
- ph balance
- glucose and insulin metabolism
- renal function
- fluid and electrolyte balance
The point is that potassium is a very important mineral that is involved in many of our bodies processes. The question is are you getting enough potassium? According to the 2010 USDA’s report on potassium intake of the US population, most of us are getting about half of the potassium that we need each day. The Institute of Medicine recommends 4700mg/day and the average American gets 2640mg/day (1). Many people are losing weight and improving their health through low carbohydrate diets in recent years. One issue here is that many of the best sources of potassium come from higher carbohydrate fruits and vegetables like potatoes, kiwi, and bananas.
Getting enough potassium takes some planning but once your get into a routine of eating certain high potassium staple foods it takes no effort at all. Potassium has a blood pressure lowering effect (2) and high blood pressure is one of the biggest risk factors for negative health outcomes (3). By consuming more potassium, you will likely reduce your blood pressure and put yourself into a position to live a longer and healthier life. So how do you know if your getting enough potassium? www.cronometer.com tracks vitamin and mineral content of foods, and this is a great tool to figure out what micronutrients your diet may be lacking. You don’t have to track your food intake every day, maybe once a week plug in your diet and see if you are missing any major micronutrients.
Potential Potassium-Rich Diet Plan
Below is an example of what 4700mg of potassium looks like on a low carb diet:
Bed 11:00pm – Wake 7:00am
Meal 1 8:00am
1 cup cooked spinach 574mg
½ red pepper 173mg
Meal 2 12:00pm
4 oz salmon 1089mg
1 cup cooked beet greens 1309mg
1/2 avocado 345mg
Meal 3 4:00pm
1 cup full fat Greek yogurt
1 oz almonds 220mg
Meal 4 8:00
4 oz bison burger 400mg
1 lettuce wrap 165mg
3 tomato slices 107mg
1/2 avocado 345mg
- 4726mg/potassium total
- 55g/carbohydrate (27.6g net carbs)
- 1653 kcal
Learn more about Better U today @ www.betterUtoday.com … Local or remote, Better U Today can you help you achieve your ideal weight quickly! Get started today here!
Coffee and the affect it can have on weight loss.
Myth and legend has it that coffee was first discovered by a North African goat herder around 850 AD. The tale is that the herder observed his goats eating the red berries from a broad-leaved shrub. He then noticed that they were restless and highly active after, he supposedly brought the berries to his local medicine man, he declared them to be evil and threw the beans in the fire. The smell was so pleasant that the whole village gathered around to see what was causing such wonderful aroma, and the medicine man pulled the coffee bean ash out of the fire and brewed the first cup of coffee. There is no legitimate historical evidence to back it up, but it is an enchanting legend none the less.
Almost everyone is drinking it – Modern America seems to run off coffee, but this coffee obsession isn’t unique to the US, coffee is actually the 2nd post popular drink worldwide behind water. Coffee is also the most widely used psychoactive agent in the world. Even elite athletes are going crazy for caffeine, 74% of elite athletes consume it prior to competition (1).
The main benefits of drinking coffee include improved weight loss, focus, mood, increased alertness, decrease pain, improved strength and athletic performance. Epidemiological studies have also shown that there is a relationship between coffee a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, suicide and all-cause mortality.
- Weight Loss – Caﬀeine consumption increases metabolic rate, energy expenditure, lipid oxidation, and thermogenic activities. It can also aid in weight loss and reducing the overall risk for developing metabolic syndrome. Consumption of 300 mg caﬀeine per day has been found to increase energy expenditure by approximately 79 kcal per day (2). That’s just under 30,000 kcal per year and the equivalent of about 8lbs of fat per year, over the course of 5 years that’s 40 lbs.
- Improved focus/memory – It isn’t clear by which mechanisms coffee improves the ability to recall information, but coffee consumption has been shown to improve subject’s ability to retain information, it is unclear whether this is due to an increase in focus or an improvement in memory (3).
- Improved mood –Studies have shown that doses of 200 to 250 mg of caffeine elevate mood (4).
- Increased alertness – Recent research showed that 250 mg of caffeine improved daytime alertness for at least 3 h in moderately sleepy subjects. Other studies indicate that caffeine can have significant effects on mood and performance, even at relatively low doses (4).
- Decreased pain – One research study observed that caffeine ingestion had a large effect on reducing leg-muscle pain during high-intensity exercise (5).
- Improved athletic performance – Numerous studies have shown the effectiveness of caffeine’s ability to improve endurance-based performance. Significant enhancements in cycling, swimming and rowing have been reported following caffeine ingestion (1).
- Type 2 diabetes – There is a relationship between regular coﬀee intake and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (2).
- Parkinson’s – There is a relationship between regular coﬀee intake and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (2).
- Cancer – There are numerous epidemiological studies relating coﬀee consumption to the risk of cancer, and there is currently substantial evidence suggesting that coﬀee may be associated with lower risk of some cancers (2).
- Suicide – These results from three large cohorts support an association between caffeine consumption and lower risk of suicide (6).
- All-cause mortality – The present meta-analysis of cohort studies indicated that light to moderate coffee intake is associated with a reduced risk of death from all causes (7).
The main concerns with coffee consumption include disturbances is sleep quality, dehydration, inhibited calcium absorption, and increased LDL cholesterol, heart disease, caffeine dependence, and withdrawal symptoms (headache). Many of the negative effects associated with coffee consumption can be avoided.
- Sleep Disturbance – Caffeine has a 5-hour half-life meaning that if you drink 2 cups of coffee containing 400mg of caffeine at 5pm, when 10pm rolls around you likely have 200mg of caffeine still flowing though your bloodstream. Avoiding coffee after a certain time, say 2pm, may help alleviate the negative effects that it can have on sleep.
- Heart disease – The diterpenes found in coffee, not processed though a paper filter, appear to be associated with an increased risk of heart disease, use a paper filter to avoid this negative health outcome (8).
- Dehydration – In 1928 researchers observed an increase in urinary output when coffee was consumed, what they didn’t realize at the time that drinking any liquid will cause an increase in urinary output and this is not an accurate measure of hydration. Years later researchers looked deeper into this idea and found that caffeine does not have a dehydrating effect when compared to the control group (participants who received a placebo and did not consume any caffeine). The scientists also found that a higher dose of caffeine was no more likely to dehydrate a person than smaller doses were (9).
- Inhibited calcium absorption – Caffeine also can promote Ca2+ release but concentrations required to elicit these effects are one hundred times higher and unlikely to be reached by normal dietary use of caffeine (2). The effect that caffeine has on calcium absorption is negligible and not significant.
- Increased LDL cholesterol – The diterpenes, cafestol and kahweol, are the oils responsible for increasing LDL cholesterol, filtering through a paper filter removes the majority of the diterpenes, brewing coffee using a French press and Keurig doesn’t remove diterpenes, switching to a brewing method that utilizes a paper filter is a simple solution to this problem.
French press coffee contains relatively high levels of cafestol and kahweol (6–12 mg/cup), while filtered coffee contains low levels of cafestol and kahweol (0.2–0.6 mg/cup) (8).
A meta-analysis of 14 randomized controlled trials examining the effect of coffee consumption on serum cholesterol concentrations found that the consumption coffee not filtered with a paper filter increased serum total and LDL cholesterol concentrations. While the consumption of filtered coffee resulted in very little increase in serum cholesterol. Coffee that is not filtered through a paper filter could pose a higher health risk than filtered coffee (8).
Caffeine dependence and Caffeine withdrawal headaches – Overtime the same amount of caffeine that use to pep you up may not have the same effect, many people seem to develop a dependency on caffeine over time as well as headaches when caffeine consumption stops or is drastically reduced.
Overall coffee is a tool that can be used properly or abused. It’s always better to try and get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and rely on those variables to give you energy. However, when life happens, you are short on sleep, and you need some quick energy, coffee can be a short-term solution.
The Better U Today program does allow you to consume coffee and we will educate on the proper the way to use this fuel for your weight loss goals. #betterUtoday
Below are some of the health benefits of using an infrared sauna that have been observed in recent scientific studies (1, 2).
- 40-60% pain reduction in arthritic participants
- Weight loss and improvements in body composition
- Improved sleep
- Reduced blood pressure
- Improved fasting blood glucose
Both traditional and infrared saunas have many health benefits, however Infrared saunas work much differently than traditional saunas. Infrared saunas heat up to 110-130 degrees Fahrenheit while traditional saunas are between 190-210. Many people find the lower temperature of the infrared saunas to be more relaxing and comfortable than the higher heat traditional saunas. Traditional saunas rely on heating the air which, heats the occupant through convection. An infrared sauna uses infrared elements which radiate heat that penetrates more deeply than traditional saunas causing the body to sweat more causing you to enjoy the many health benefits without having the discomfort of the extreme heat produced by traditional saunas.
The cardiovascular demand experienced during an infrared sauna session (sweating, vasodilation, increased heart rate, and increased cardiac output) is similar to that achieved by walking at a moderate pace. Not feeling motivated to exercise? A relaxing session in an infrared sauna will give you some of the same benefits without all the effort and motivation needed to exercise.
As infrared heat penetrates more deeply (about 3–4 cm into fat tissue and the neuromuscular system) than warmed air (only a few millimeters), users develop a more vigorous sweat at a lower temperature than they would in traditional saunas.
Numerous research studies show that regular use of Infrared saunas can be very relaxing and help reduce pain, improve body composition, improve sleep, reduce blood pressure, and improve fasting blood glucose levels.
All members of Better U today get full access to our infrared sauna as a part of our program, set up a consultation to day and begin losing weight right away.
Learn more about Better U today @ www.betterUtoday.com … Local or remote, Better U Today can you help you achieve your ideal weight quickly! Get started today here!
- https://healthmatesauna.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Rheumatoid-Arthritis-Sauna- pdf
- 1 1/2 lb (650g) flank steak, sliced against the grain
- 4 medium zucchini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
- 1/4 cup (60ml) low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon chopped parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
The steak marinade
- 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce (or any hot chili sauce you like
- Combine the ingredients for the marinade in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag. Add the steak strips into the marinade, seal and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to one hour.
- In the meantime, wash and trim the ends of the zucchini. Using a spiralizer, make the zucchini noodles, then set aside.
- Bring the steak to room temperature and heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat — reserve the juices of the marinade for later. Add the steak strips in one layer and season with salt and pepper. Cook for one minute without stirring.
- Add minced garlic, then stir the steak for another minute or two to cook the other side. Remove the steak from the skillet and set aside to a plate.
- In the same skillet, add butter, lemon juice and zest, red pepper flakes, chicken broth, and remaining marinade juices. Bring to a simmer and allow to reduce for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Stir in the fresh parsley, then add the zucchini noodles and toss for two to three minutes to cook it up. Allow the cooking juices to reduce for one minute if the zucchini renders too much water. Add the steak strips back to the pan and stir for another minute. Serve immediately. Enjoy
Eat a variety of colored produce to get the most health benefits
“Variety is the spice of life, that gives it all its flavor” -William Cowper.
Most of us have a general understanding that eating vegetables can be protective against certain health conditions. But are all vegetables created equal? Certain colors of vegetables seem to be protective against specific conditions. To ensure that we get all of the possible health benefits out of our veggies it’s important that we eat a variety of different colored vegetables to get all of the benefits possible.
A diet rich in plant foods provides essential vitamins and minerals, and over 25,000 phytochemicals. Many phytochemicals have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties which result in many other health benefits. These phytochemicals are colorful, recommending a wide variety of colorful fruit and vegetables is an easy way to communicate increased diversity of intake to the general population. Some examples of pigments that offer health benefits include red foods like tomatoes, which contain lycopene, may be involved in maintaining prostate health, which can be linked with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Green foods like broccoli, brussels sprouts and kale contain glucosinolates which have been associated with a decreased risk of cancer. Garlic and other white foods in the onion family contain allyl sulphides which can inhibit cancer cell growth (1). It is clear that different colored fruits and vegetables have unique benefits, and eating a variety of colored produce will give the best protection against disease.
One prospective, population-based cohort study looked at the fruit and vegetable intake of 20,069 health men and women, 10 years later 233 incidences of stroke were documented. Fruit and vegetable intake were broken down into 4 groups: green, orange/yellow, red/purple and white. White fruit and vegetable consumption were the most protective against stroke (2).
In a case-controlled study with 2,114 participants researchers observed that a greater intake of orange/yellow, red/purple and white vegetables and fruit was associated with the greatest risk reduction of colorectal cancer (3).
In another study researchers examined the associations between fruit and vegetables of different colors and their subgroups and 10-year coronary heart disease incidence, researchers obtained data from a prospective population-based cohort and found that the intake of all fruits and vegetables were protective against heart disease, higher intake of orange vegetables, showed to be the most protective against heart disease (4).
When grocery shopping be sure to get a variety of colored produce to ensure you are getting a variety of benefits from each color. It will be a long time before scientists understand all of the phytochemicals contained in plants but it’s important to use the information that we do have currently and use it to our advantage. There are many variables that we don’t have much control over like genetics, and the decline is soil quality, resulting in less nutritious food, however we must focus on the variables that we have control over, like eating enough fresh produce, getting enough exercise and keeping our body fat in a healthy range. Focus on variables that you have control over and try not to stress about the variables that you can’t control.
Learn more about Better U today @ www.betterUtoday.com … Local or remote, Better U Today can you help you achieve your ideal weight quickly! Get started today here!
Losing weight as all about calories in vs calories out……. Or is it? What if your hormones are so out of whack that your appetite, sleep patterns, and blood sugar levels aren’t what they should be as a result of less than optimal hormone production and regulation. If you eat 1000 kcal every day you will lose weight, then your metabolism will adapt, appetite will increase and your body will become more efficient and burn less calories aka the slowing of your metabolism as it reaches its new setpoint. Each week your body will adapt and fight the extreme calorie deficit. By understanding how the body works and what activities and/or foods that we eat can affect or hormones we can work with our bodies systems and process rather than fight against them.
The word hormone is derived from the Greek participle ὁρμῶ,”to set in motion, urge on”. Hormones are signaling molecules produced by glands and transported through the blood to target organs in order to regulate our bodies and our behavior.
Amino acid bases hormones like adrenaline and growth hormone generally are water soluble and act on tissues near where they are produced and they act on the surface of the cell.
Steroid based hormones like testosterone and cortisol are fat soluble and they act on the tissues further away form the place it was produced. Steroid based hormones also penetrate the cell wall and act on the nucleus rather than acting on the surface of the cell.
Some hormones act as hormones and neurotransmitters like norepinephrine *see below for more on this
Hormones generally follow this life cycle
- Biosynthesis – producing the hormone
- Storage and – the pump and storage shed
- Transport the shuttle bus
- Recognition – Hi there I see you
- Relay and amplification -homeostatic negative feedback loop (glucose, pancreas, insulin)
- Breakdown of the hormone
Our bodies have no receptors for calories, if we eat 100kcal or pure sugar you will have a different insulin response than if you had 100kcal from olive oil. Calorie in vs calorie out is a physics term, this concept doesn’t necessarily carry over to physiology, this is an over simplification. There are loads of studies that show that calories consumption is the most important variable to consider in weight loss. Logically if you eat 2000 kcal from mountain dew that that will result in the same weight loss as the same 2000kcal from salmon. The insulin response will be much different and what your body does with those calories will be vastly different.
Our bodies hormonal regulation works on a negative feedback loop. Think of the thermostat in your house, if the thermostat is set to 72 degrees and its summer and hot outside, the thermostat senses it and turns on the AC to bring down the temperature of the house. If its winter and it’s too cold the thermostat senses that and turns on the heat and brings up the temperature. When you try and lose weight, your body will sense it and try and make you gain it back to achieve homeostasis and the contrary would occur if you were trying to gain weight. Our bodies are homeostatic regulating machines. If your fat cells swell to certain point the will produced leptin, this signals to our body that we are too fat, in turn appetite decreases. Many obese people are also leptin resistant, causing high concentrations of leptin to float around the blood (much like how people with type2 diabetes high levels of insulin in their blood). This affects the regulation of leptin and it’s like having a broken thermostat in your body and the negative feedback loop is disrupted.
Below I have listed a few of the most powerful hormones produced in our bodies, where they are made, what they affect, and what we can eat and do to manipulate our bodies hormone production and regulation.
Testosterone – produced in testis or ovaries – muscle growth, bone density, strength – Egg yolks, Beef, Tuna, Salmon – these foods contain vitamin D, Cholesterol and Saturated fat all benefit testosterone production, lifting weights also increases testosterone production, adequate sleep also help regulate healthy testosterone levels,
Cortisol – produced in the adrenal cortex -stimulates production of sugar in the liver (gluconeogenesis)- inhibits glucose uptake into muscle and adipose tissue -affects fat breakdown, inflammation and immunity. Alcohol, caffeine, and trans fats can signal the release of cortisol. A stressful job can cause chronic release of cortisol rather than an acute release that may occur from a temporary and isolated stressful situation, like stumbling upon a rattlesnake on a hiking trail.
Insulin – produced in pancreas – shuttle for other nutrients, bring down blood sugar. Carbohydrates have the greatest impact on insulin and fasting and adhering to a low-carb diet can help create a more stable insulin response
Human Growth Hormone– produced in the pituitary gland, stimulates growth and cell reproduction – in a fasted state our bodies produce more HGH
Oxytocin – produced in pituitary gland – signals the release of breast milk, affects trust, body temperature, activity level and wakefulness. sharing meals, being affectionate with pets, hugging other people, soaking in a hot bath, giving gifts and meditating are activities that can signal a release of oxytocin.
Prostaglandin – derived from fatty acids – affects vasodilation, blood pressure and in (open up blood vessels. Salmon (omega-3’s), almonds (vitamin E), pineapple, pomegranates can all signal to your body to downregulate prostaglandin and keep levels under control
Norepinephrine– functions as a hormone and a neurotransmitter (brain signaling)- In the brain mobilizes the brain and body for action – released during fight or flight response – low levels during sleep, high levels while awake- increase alertness, memory retrieval and formation, improves attention, increases restlessness and anxiety, reduces blood flow to intestinal tract. Foods rich in the amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine such as animal protein, nuts and seeds and dark chocolate due to their high levels of B-vitamins, zinc, and magnesium which can support dopamine and norepinephrine production
In the rest of the body – increase heart rate, increase blood pressure, release of glucose from energy stores, increase blood flow to skeletal muscle
Adrenaline/Epinephrine – produced in Adrenal Gland and certain neurons -affects blood pressure, lipolysis (fat burning), increase blood flow, increase heart output, pupil dilation and increased blood sugar, too much caffeine can signal over production and release of adrenaline
Leptin – produced in fat stores – decrease appetite, increase metabolism, a high carb/fat meal aka a re-feed meal can cause a favorable release of Leptin and this can help break through fat loss plateaus, controlling insulin can have favorable effects on leptin concentrations in our blood.
Ghrelin – produced in the intestines – stimulates appetite – causes pituitary gland to secrete growth hormone
Melatonin– produced in pineal gland -affects sleep and circadian rhythms, cherries or cherry juice not from concentrate contains moderate levels of melatonin and can therefore promote better sleep and help regulate heathy circadian rhythms
Vitamin D aka cholecalciferol – affects calcium absorption, mood, immunity and depression – egg yolks and fortified foods are great sources of vitamin D, also getting enough exposure to sunlight is essential for your body to produce enough vitamin D
T3(thyroid hormone)- produced in thyroid – affects metabolism – small amounts of fructose can stimulate the liver an and help with the conversion of thyroid hormone, getting enough iodine is important for thyroid health, cranberries or cranberry juice not form concentrate is an excellent source of iodine
Amylin– produced in pancreas – slows down digestion, reduces appetite – amylin is used in diabetes management due to its ability to reduce appetite and slow down digestion
Glucagon – produced in pancreas – raises blood sugar and blood fat works in opposition to insulin- main catabolic hormone (muscle wasting) – if blood sugar drops too low, pancreas secretes glucagon and this signals the liver to engage in gluconeogenesis (production of glucose from protein), exercising and fasting can signal the release of glucagon causing our liver to release glucose for fuel
Estrogen – produced in testis or ovaries – affects water retention – excessive intake of soy may have an impact on estrogen levels due to their Phyto estrogenic nature
Hormones affect the following process in the human body
- stimulation or inhibition of growth
- wake-sleep cycle and other circadian rhythms
- mood swings
- induction or suppression of apoptosis (programmed cell death)
- activation or inhibition of the immune system
- regulation of metabolism
- preparation of the body for mating, fighting, fleeing, and other activity
- preparation of the body for a new phase of life, such as puberty, parenting, and menopause
- control of the reproductive cycle
- hunger cravings
This is an introduction to our endocrine and hormonal systems of our bodies, in future articles I will highlight one hormone at a time and go more in depth into how we can optimize production and regulation in an attempt to be healthier overall. The goal of this article is to get people thinking outside of the box when in comes to health and weight loss as well as to educate people about our bodies in an attempt to take control of our own health and our bodies, we only get one, its up to us to understand it and take care of it. Controlling your carbohydrates, exercising, and eating specific foods can have a profound impact on our hormone levels and in turn our weight loss and overall health.
Knowledge is power and Ignorance is not bliss.
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